Category Archives: Technology

My favorite Android Apps for my phone

During January 2014 a Facebook friend said she just got a new android phone and wanted recommendations for apps. So here is a list ofAndroid icon many of the apps I use regularly on my phone. I will update it from time to time. Like ios, some many options.

But first, a link to recommendations of Lifehacker,

Here is my list, roughly in the order that I use them (note: I don’t do games on my phone; others might be interested in Pinterest or Instragram):

Daily or very regularly:

  • Any.Do or ReNotify – for your short “to do” list
  • Audible – to listen to books on my commute and when walking the dogs. See my page on this.
  • Chrome – web browser.
  • Facebook
  • Gmail and Gmail’s calendar app. Cathy and I share calendars so we can keep up with what is scheduled
  • Google Now – Android’s virtual assistant (Siri). Ask it any question. Get directions, sent a note to self, set an alarm, etc. do conversions, local movie list, etc.  For more.
  • Google Maps – an excellent program for locating an address, navigating you there (but it can use the batttery up so be careful if you do not have a phone charger.
  • Google voice – some work to set up.. But
  • Swiftkey – a keyboard that allows for more efficient typing.


  • Camera! – an upgrade from the version that is part of Android
  • Dropbox (if you are a dropbox user)
  • Google Keep – for keeping misc information. Easy to add; easy to search.
  • Logos Bible app (I have the desktop version as well; this gives me access to these resoures on my phone and tablet
  • NWS Mobile Weather and/or AccuWeather (I have both and use both)
  • OneNote (if you are a OneNote user on the PC..) or Evernote
  • Pandora – for streaming music.
  • Pocket – for saving web pages for later viewing
  • Quickoffice – allows you to open a word or excel file
  • Radar Now
  • RunKeeper (an excellent app for runners; it tracks your distance, time, rate
  • Smart Voice Recorder – dictate a note for later listening. I use this on my walks or drive.
  • Voxer (if you friends use it..). A walkie-talkie app.


  • Brightest Flashlight
  • Compass
  • Crashplan – assess to my Crashplan backups.
  • Flickr – photo sharing and more.
  • PrinterShare – allows you to print remotely
  • Skype or Hangouts to connect with others video video
  • Time4Me+ – an excellent timer

Tablet apps (not mentioned above)

  • Flipboard or Zite – customizable magazine of web articles
  • Google Earth
  • Kindle – reading books

Audible transforms commutes, walks, more

A desire to learn more about nutrition 4 years ago took me to Topeka’s good library not far from work.  While there, I discovered their significant collection of books on CD and which transformed my daily commute from Lawrence to Topeka. After a couple of years, I began to have a more difficulty time finding books of interest and desired to listen to books on my two walks a day with our dogs. The answer: Audible.

David vacuuming and listening to Audible
David vacuuming and listening to Audible

While there are a number of way to get free book recordings, esp. of classic literature, Audible deliveries a great variety of classics and current best-sellers via purchase/subscription, conveniently and simply. Many of these recordings are excellent performances. For example I thoroughly enjoyed listening to an excellent rendition of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, a book I likely would not have been able to get through by reading.

The Basics

  • The most common way to use Audible is as a subscription service. The basic subscription if $15 per month. With it you get one credit per month, which is in essence, one  book per month. But this also allows you to buy any other book for a minimum of 30% off and to have access to other sales and specials (see more below)
  • Audible’s app is available for your smart phone, tablet, and computers. You can switch between devices and it keeps track of where you are.
  • As Audible allows you to have up to three phones or tablets connected to an account (as well a few PCs), you can share an account with other family members. I share my account with my wife and mom; I also pay for an account that my three daughters share.

Getting the most of your money

  • You can save 20% by paying annually rather than monthly ($150/year rather than $180 if you pay $15/month).
  • Sign up for their “daily special” email where once a day they deeply discount a particular book for 24 hours, typically at a price of $3 or $4.
  • I take time to read the reviews to see what others think of the book, both its content and the performance of it, to help me insure I am getting books I will enjoy.  Many of the classics are inexpensive and there are often multiple options.
  • If you buy a book that you end up not enjoying, return it. Audible allows you to return books you are not satisfied with for any reason for up to a year. .
  • Keep a wish list. Audible will let you know if any of these are on sale.

Getting the most of your time.

  • I listen on my commutes and my walks with the dogs.
  • I also listen when I mow the yard and vacuum the house. How? I use ear buds and the ear protection I wear when I mow the yard.
  • We equipped both of our cars with a mount to hold our phone (approx. $20) and an FM tuner/phone charger to allow you to listen to the book through the cars speakers (another $20).
  • We also spend $30 on a small Bluetooth speaker that allows her to conveniently listen to books which in the kitchen.


  • Listen to a variety of genres. See some examples of our listening below
  • Don’t let listening dominate your thought life. We all need some in our lives where we are “processing”. If you fill every moment of every day with work, talking, TV, etc., etc., this important processing does not happen.

Our listening, starting with David:

  • Sci-Fi: Dune, Foundation, Ender’s Game and others by Asimov , Heinlein, Clarke, and more.
  • Classics: Hobbit, Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Mark Twain’s Prince and the Pauper and Huckleberry Finn (read by Elisha Wood), Sherlock Holmes. I am reading Don Quixote now (40 hours)
  • Health: several titles.
  • Christian: CS Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and more; Lawhead.
  • History/Biographies: John Adams, Bonhoeffer
  • Self-help: Now Habit and more.

Cathy loves Jane Austin and has listening to some of her book club choices when time was short.